Head Start strives to ensure that the individual needs of every child are met. It is our goal to provide children with a safe, nurturing, engaging, enjoyable, and secure learning environment, in order to help them gain the awareness, skills, and confidence necessary to succeed in their present situation and to deal with later responsibilities in school and in life.

We use the objectives and widely held expectations developed by Teaching Strategies GOLD™ to continuously assess each child’s development, and that assessment information is shared with families three times during the program year. Teaching Strategies GOLD™ supports learning for all levels of development, including children with special needs and dual-language learners, and is aligned with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, Common Core State Standards, Michigan Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Prekindergarten & Infant and Toddler Programs.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Head Start for Kent County strives to provide learning experiences appropriate to children’s age and developmental status and responsive to the social and cultural contexts in which they live. Developmentally appropriate practice involves teachers meeting young children where they are developmentally appropriate practice does not mean making things easier for children; rather, it means ensuring goals and experiences are suited to each child’s individual learning and development and challenging enough to promote progress and interest. This best practice for early childhood education is based on knowledge and research about how children learn and develop.

School Readiness

Head Start for Kent County is committed to helping create a strong foundation for each child’s future success in school and in life, and we utilize a comprehensive, holistic two-generational approach.  We place a high value on the parents’ role as a child’s first and best teacher and work together with families to ensure all children are ready to learn.  School Readiness is defined as meeting or exceeding the current standard developmental level, or widely held expectation, for a given age group.  The School Readiness Goals we have developed are inclusive of the following domains: Language & Literacy, Approaches to Learning, Cognition & General Knowledge, Social and Emotional, and Perceptual, Motor and Physical Development.